Ted Talk

As Sherry Turkle took the Ted stage for the second time she expresses her opinion on the paradoxes of current technology; she believes that we are so connected, yet still alone. According to Turkle we are letting psychologically powerful devices take control of our daily lives, constantly using them even if the time is not appropriate. This constant connection begins to define and shape who we are. Turkle brings up the insightful point that when communicating through technology we are able to edit and plan out exactly what we are going to say. How we present ourselves can be completely up to our own discretion. People will not truly learn and understand each other through this type of communication. Turkle says through meaningful and live conversation is when we reveal our true identities and personalities. This cannot be portrayed with a scripted message through a device, because we are shortchanging ourselves and only learning small things about each other. This shortchanging happens so frequently that we end up being content with this type of communication and interaction. Turkle then mentions her puzzlement with people’s reliance on their devices and realizes through her research that it is because they increasingly believe they are not being listened to. They are vulnerable and lonely so they rely on technology to fill this void, expecting more from technology and less from each other. They like that when they are plugged into their social media they have automatic listeners; therefore they feel that they are not alone. Turkle believes that if we don’t have the connection then we don’t feel like ourselves. We are becoming incapable of being alone, which only results in feeling lonelier. She says we need to perceive solitude as a good thing, not something to fear. It is this fear that drives us to turn to others through our devices in order to feel more alive or less anxious. We can talk to them when we want to feel something, even if we keep them at a distance in reality. Turkle thinks that now is the time to actually talk to each other again, listen and empathize for those around us, and to stop letting technology redefine our relationships.

After watching this video I feel completely enlightened by Turkle’s insight. There was a frightening truth in her speech, and I agree with many of her points. My generation has grown up with modern technology and it is what we are accustomed to. As Deborah Lupton mentions in The Embodied Computer/User, “PCs are an extension of the human body” (528). We use our devices to communicate, share our thoughts, and reflect our identities. We enjoy when we receive a notification on Facebook, when someone favorites or retweets a tweet, or likes a photo on Instagram. It is these connections that make us feel that we are significant, and that people care about us. This leads us to constantly rely on our devices and be connected, which directly relates to both Lupton and Turkle’s thoughts. It truly seems that our devices are metaphorically apart of our own bodies, we wouldn’t feel in our own skin without them.

Technology Consummation

In Sherry Turkle’s Ted Talk she recognizes and describes how technology has completely ruined face to face interactions between people.  For example, even her daughter sending her a text instead of giving her a hug before her Ted Talk lessens her face to face interaction and could possibly have impacted her confidence during her talk.  This was significant to me because having someone come up and hug me instead of just getting a text really shows that the person made an effort to recognize you.  And now it is even getting less personal by using sites such as Twitter and Facebook to send messages using only a username.  Most interpersonal connection is lost in this process.

Next, she presents the idea of people texting at funerals.  This is a time to mourn the life of a loved one, and feel connected to them, not connected to the rest of the world using social media sites and texting your friends.  Texting at a funeral is very inappropriate and really shows how much the world has changed.  It used to be inappropriate to chew gum in church at a funeral but now people think it is ok to text.

Both of these points made by Turkle agree with the points made in “The Embodied Computer/User” by Lupton.  She recognizes the fact that people are becoming more and more dependent on technology for communication.  People are so consumed in their phones and technology that they don’t realizing they are missing most of their life flying by and they will never be able to get that time back.

Connected but Alone

Jenn Andrews

In Sherry Turkle’s Ted Talk entitled “Connected but Alone,” she addresses key issues and topics that are evident in this new digital age. Turkle opens her discussion by making the comment that earlier on in the day her daughter sent her a “good luck” text instead of giving her a hug or having a face-to-face conversation with her before stepping out on the stage. Technology has become so embedded into our lives that little changes, such as her daughter using technology to provide her support, go practically unnoticed. Thus, activities that would have seemed odd to perform with technology in past years are the norm nowadays. We have become so attached to technology that we have almost lost touch with how to do things manually and are at a loss when we don’t have our cell phone or another form of technology right by our side. Related to this idea, Deborah Lupton in her piece “The Embodied Computer/User” points out that “Advertisements also attempt to portray one’s PC as an extension of the human body.”

People turn to technology and computers in order to gain an instant connection and attention. As humans we have this innate fear of loneliness, so even having the cognition that we have the capacity to immediately be connected with people, either through texting or Facebook or any other avenue considerably lowers our anxieties. Lupton states in her article, “If a user is not linked up to a networked system, both the human and the computer are left to contemplate their social isolation.” However, Turkle raises a good argument when she questions how reliable this affection and attention truly is, stating that technology gives us “pretend empathy.” Machines lack the ability to feel or have emotions, yet we rely on this false responsiveness in an effort to decrease our fear of isolation. In addition, although humans have fears of loneliness, we are also afraid of intimacy. We want to have the ability to control how much we are connected to people, and technology gives us the ability to do so. There is an illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship, as Turkle puts it.

Children have grown up in this era of instant communication that they don’t know any other way. Therefore even a simple thing such as a conversation can seem like a foreign concept. Yet, Turkle points out that a flight from conversation can compromise our capacity for self-reflection, which is the bedrock of development. Thus, parents need to start thinking of solitude as a good thing and make it a value for their children. Because it is not until we unplug from technology that we finally have the ability to truly think and feel.

Ted Talks: Connected, but alone?

In the Ted Talks with Sherry Turkle, she explains that with our growing attachment to our technology and new ways of communicating with others, we are isolating ourselves from society. She says that people end up wanting to spend time with their machines instead of with other people. She says people like her daughter, as well as herself, sleep with their cell phones beside them because of their growing attachment to their technology. People like to control how much they interact with others, and technology allows them to do that. She says she can recall several times when people have told her they would prefer to text someone than to talk to them. She explains that we like to communicate with each other and experience each others company but we would rather be “alone but together” using what technology has to offer for us, like social networking sites.

In Deborah Lupton’s article, she also explores this attachment to our technology. She says she has “an emotional relationship with the computer”. She experiences “impatience, anger, panic, anxiety and frustration” when it doesn’t do what she wants it to. It sounds ridiculous that a computer can evoke this response from a person, but from experience, it is possible. We have become so attached to our technological devices that when these inanimate objects don’t work the way we want them to, they evoke these extreme emotions from us. It’s because of this emotional attachment to our computers that people are able to isolate themselves from real life.

The Effects of Technology

Sherry Turkle’s Ted Talk, “Connected But Not Alone”, could be effortlessly condensed when she states, “We even text at funerals.” In this presentation, Dr.Turkle brings forward the extreme realities of human and technological interaction. She begins with a physiological intuition that  “they don’t only change what we do, they change who we are.” Here Turkle annotates the concept that children at breakfast cannot hold a conversation with their parents who have dematerialized into their phones. Nonetheless, when the parents want the attention of the children, they too are lost in their phones. Turkle goes on to compose a compelling argument when she says people are “being together while not being together.” Metaphorically we remove ourselves from our bodies and enter our phones. Turkle expands upon what she calls the “goldilocks effect” which states that people can deal with one another at a distance that’s “not too close, not too far, but just right.”  Texting, emailing, and tweeting are all ways to disguise our insecurities.  Through such forms of messaging, we can edit our words and emotions whereas in real time we cannot control our sometimes plain-spoken expressions. In terms of the development of the self, we must communicate face to face with others if we want to truly grow as individuals. Without such interactions, we lose the opportunity of self-reflection. Turkle believes as time has progressed, younger generations have almost become content with the idea that there is no need for real-life interactions.



I agree with the concepts of Sherry Turkle and how technology is coming to power in the sphere of humanity. Her arguments correlate directly with those of “The Embodied Computer/User” by Deborah Lupton. Turkle elaborates upon the idea of loneliness that technology has actualized. Nowadays it is impossible to go anywhere without the ability to connect to some sort of network. Because of this, we are finding ourselves shell-shocked in times with no computers or phones available. She construes that “the feeling that ‘no one is listening to me’ make us want to spend time with machines that seem to care about us.” This coincides with Lupton’s thoughts that “the dream of cyberculture is to leave the ‘meat’ behind and to become distilled in a clean, pure, uncontaminated relationship with computer technology” (424). Lupton shares that we want to “leave” our bodies and become computers ourselves. She also touches upon the concept of a cyborg, a “humanoid hybrid.” Lupton and Turkle bring to light the physiological truths of technology and human cooperation that will inevitably dictate the future as we know it.

Ted Talks: Connected, but alone?

In Sherry Turkle’s Ted Talk, she discusses her shift in view on the use of technology.  Starting out her talk, she highlights herself as an example in how she felt as if she received a “hug,” from her daughter upon receiving a text saying good luck right before going on stage to give her talk.  And she focuses on the paradox that she is there to say getting too many texts is bad for us.  Turkle emphasizes the idea that we are in a transitive time.  One in which people’s selves are being redefined through the use of technology; and due to this transition people are gaining faith in technology as they lose faith in each other.  She focuses this idea on child development.  As adults and adolescents are growing up with this technology they are losing the appreciation of being alone.  This feeling of always being connected is ironically making people become lonely.  The concept that someone can find a person to talk to instantly through sending a text or an instant message is not a replacement for actually being with people and having real conversations.

Turkle expanded on this idea of conversing face to face with people.  She quoted a high school kid that said one day, I want to learn how to have a conversation.  Focusing on this quote she further elaborates on how this lack of face to face conversation is causing people to prefer texting over talking.  People are becoming afraid of conversation because in their eyes, its messy and time consuming.  She says that people are afraid of these conversations because they cannot control what they say, whereas a conversation through the use of technology allows the person to clean up what they say and present themselves in the manner they wish to.  This manner of communicating is making it so that people lose the skill of reflecting on themselves, they become unable to learn who they are and instead form who they are through their presentation of themselves.

This point I found interesting, especially since it relates to Paul Taylor’s article Hackers – Cyberpunks or Microserfs?  The article talks about these new cultures developing from the internet and how they coexist within our daily lives.  Specifically, I found the section on the hacker’s body particularly interesting in how its viewed as a prison of flesh by the hacker.  To put it simply, I completely agree with Turkle’s idea that we need to be careful with how we use technology.  In the section previously mentioned in Taylor’s article, he selected quotes that emphasized how hackers were relating to they’re bodies saying things like “my relationship with my body has gone all weird.”  Therefore, while I agree with Turkle’s point about how technology is affecting our personalities, it is also coming to affect our bodies.

-John Lynch

Ted talks: Connected but not Alone

In Sherry Turkle’s latest Ted talk “Connected but not Alone”, she catalogs many points concluding that technology is a device powerful enough to alter the human psyche. It is a means by which we change who we are and what we do. Technology usage has led focused businessmen to inefficiently allocating their time to their cellphone, especially during meetings. Learning is now done by paying attention to Facebook rather than a teacher, and family time is no longer what it once was. We are obsessed with our technological devices and they redefine the way we interact and communicate with others, as well as the way we reflect on and define ourselves. Turkle accredits these new, unhealthy habits to several ideas. The first is that our handheld devices give us control. We can customize out lives by deciding where we devote our attention.  It is a means to hide from others and to project a front of ourselves that we have control over. In a real time conversation, we can’t control our impulses to say things or rewind if we say something we don’t mean. On our phones we can edit, delete, and revise. Thus, presenting the “self” as we want it to be.

As Turkle points out, there are many downfalls to being too hooked on technology. Human development relies on learning from human interaction. Being connected rather than conversing compromises our capacity for self-reflection, especially for kids at a younger age. We can’t learn from each other; learn to read body language, understand tones of voice, and many other key communication skills. Being connected takes away from the experience and lessons learned from making a mistake. Machines are personified by suggesting that they offer companionship. Social networking sites allow us to post whatever we feel like and lead to automatic listeners; something many feel is lacking in the real world. But how can they offer companionship when they have no experience, no empathy, and no feeling? I agree with Turkle in the fact that we cannot substitute technology for human relations. The sad truth is, we have begun to expect and rely more on technology than each other. People don’t like feeling alone and their solution is to be “connected”.  But connection leads to isolation. People have degraded to identifying themselves by the idea, “I share therefore I am.” Users want to have feelings or a profound idea for the sole purpose of putting it online and texting it to others. Always being connected to not feel alone ironically makes you more alone.

Drawing from Deborah Lupton’s Essay “The Embodied Computer/User”, I agree with Turkle’s argument. People need to develop more self-aware relationships internally and externally. Lupton makes a similar argument that since we are face to face with computers more than humans, we have developed an emotional relationship with technology. Lupton claims that the boundaries are blurred between the computer and self. Over usage of technology has led to a disembodied mind. This same idea is seen in Turkle’s argument where she shows how by conversing over the Internet, we can hide, embellish, and edit ourselves to show ourselves as we would rather be seen. If we are not linked to technology we are lost, life is unimaginable, and both Turkle and Lupton agree that this is an unhealthy path for us to continue down.

-Samantha Gray

The Distance of Technology

Paige Smith

Sherry Turkle talks about how we can use technology in a way that can make life a life we love.  Turkle explains the want for people to listen. People don’t want to have to work to get the attention of others and social networks such as Twitter allow people to say what they are thinking and have listeners right there waiting to read a new tweet. She mentions her daughter hanging out with her friends but how they were not actually hanging out together. All three of them were on their cell phones and hanging out and communicating with other people. Technology has given them that leeway to extract their minds from the current situation and escape into another world. Everyone uses this leeway, whether they are in a meeting or class or just hanging out with friends. The younger generations don’t like to feel alone but don’t like to be too close. They like the distance that texting or chatting gives them. They don’t have to have a conversation where they don’t know what they are going to say, they are able to think out and edit what they are going to say next. She called this the “Goldilocks effect”.

This effect is similar to the idea of “presence at a distance” that Kevin Robin’s talks about in his piece “Against Virtual Community for a politics of distance”. He talks about the communicating through technology recreates the face-to-face interactions, or the conversations that Turkle was talking about. I agree with this statement. Both Turkle and Robins have made the realizations that people are now substituting human-to-human interactions with human to computer interactions. I know that I would much rather text someone than talk to them on the phone. It is easier for me to just text someone quickly than have to wait for someone to answer the call. For me texting usually seems like the more efficient way to talk. The replacement of the human voice for just words on a screen is the distance that people have become comfortable with.

Ted Talk Summary

In Sherry Turkle’s latest Ted Talk, she describes how technology is taking place of true, meaningful human interactions.  She mentions how she participated in a Ted Talk a few years ago, and her daughter gave her a hug for good luck.  Before her show this time, however, her daughter sent her a good luck text instead.  She tells the audience that people have become so involved in technology, including herself, that we feel like texts are heartfelt conversations.  Every day, you can see people reading emails, checking Facebook, posting to twitter, texting, and just generally surfing the web during business meetings, class, or even at the dinner table.  She mentions a concept that she has come up with, called the Goldilocks Effect, which means that we as humans cannot be too close nor too far from each other.  Technology has helped us achieve this concept because it allows us to text someone who could be thousands of miles away and talk to them like they are right in front of us.  In this sense, we have developed an intimate relationship with technology that has caused us to be afraid to actual, real-life conversations.

We now live in a world where people would much rather text someone than have a meaningful conversation.  Turkle showed a picture of her daughter and her friends hanging out.  In the picture, they are all sitting around together but not looking at each other. Instead, they are all on their phones texting or surfing the web.  This is what our world has come to nowadays.  We are so enveloped by technology that we forget where we are and who we are with and we just sit there on our phones or computers.  Turkle is distraught about how involved we are with technology that she tells the audience that she wants them to re-create some ‘sacred’ areas, such as the dining room, or the kitchen table.  She wants families to go back to the old days where we had actual conversations over dinner instead of surfing the web.

I agree with Turkle because I see people every day texting or surfing the web during class or meetings.  I think that she is right in wanting families to connect with each other with meaningful conversations.  Both Sherry Turkle and Deborah Lupton make allusions to the fact that we are so involved with technology that our phones, computers, and other devices are metaphorically “extensions of the body image sensation” (Lupton 423).  Turkle describes the text she received from her daughter before the show as being symbolically the same as the hug she received for a different Ted Talk.  We ‘feel’ technology and it makes us happy when we receive a text or an email.

Technology’s Affects on Society

Madison Caron

Sherry Turkle posed many interesting points in her Ted Talk regarding our society’s reliance on technology to feel accepted. She starts her talk by explaining how much everyone’s attitudes have changed over the last fifteen years because of the advances in technology. She states that her daughter had a conversation with her before her first Ted Talk, and now she was sending her a good luck text message. Turkle expresses that she loved receiving the text message from her daughter, but this text message is symbolic of our society seldomley interacting in an intimate manner.

She points out that as humans we love experiencing company, but with all the advances in technology we are “alone but together”. We spend time with each other but we spend so much time enraptured with technology that we are alone. As time has passed we have realized that human relationships are messy, so in an attempt to avoid that we clean up these relationships with technology. Turkle tells us that in her research she has concluded that when we feel alone we find our connection to society through technology. It has become apparent that young children need to grow up with a sense of comfort and compassion, but unfortunately technology cannot provide that. Cyberspace is now becoming more and more involved in family dinners, and this takes away from the from actual face to face conversations regarding events that happened throughout the day. Many people nowadays don’t feel like themselves if they are not “connected”, and this further proves that technology has become a very large part of our lives. Humans are social beings and thrive on connections between one another, but we have become so consumed with technology that we are becoming less dependent on each other.

Turkle’s points throughout her talk further confirmed in my mind that we are too reliant on technology. The future should be feared for face-to-face interactions are become more and more limited. We are creating technology based for the sake of a sense of control. We want to be able to know what we want; nothing boring or extra that is a waste of time. We are afraid of intimacy but never want to feel alone and our phones, laptops, and other forms of technology fill in for that.